The first ever Mwizenge Sustainable Village Growing Season in the Savannah climate has ended. The growing season in Zambia is from November when it begins to rain to April when the rains end. May is the beginning of the harvest and dry season in the Savannah climate. It is dry from May to November when the rains resume.
At the beginning of the rain season in November 2019, Vincent Tembo, 56, the Manager of the Sustainable Model Village, supervised the planting of the 2 major staple crops in Zambia; maize and peanuts. The two objectives of planting these 2 crops was to grow food to feed the residents of the Model Village in 2020. The second was to do some modest preliminary experimenting on how to grow crops on the Model Village land.
Vincent Tembo purchased maize or corn and peanut seeds. He hired some contract labor or what is called ganyu in Zambia. The labor included 2 men: Mr. Sakala, who was the Model Village Care Taker and Mr. Nyoni who was the hold over from approximately up to 30 men and women contract or ganyu workers who worked on the model village in various capacities from January to October in 2019.
Planting of Crops
Mr. Sakala, Mr Nyoni, and other workers planted the rows of maize or corn. They made rows of ridges in which they planted the peanut seeds. As the tropical rains increase from raining may be 3 times per week, to the frequency of raining practically every day from January up March, several challenges arise. This is what everyone who farms faces. Every wild seed, grass, trees and shrubs suddenly grow very quickly and plush-green because of the excessive amount of rain. Every rural resident has to remove or hoe weeds from the field so that the crops can grow in a healthy way in order to have a high yield. Every rural resident has to battle with removing grass and other weeds from around their physical dwelling around their own village houses.
Challenges of the Rainy Season
In December, the Care Taker Mr. Sakala had to leave the Model Village and take up the same appointment at another farm. Mr. Vincent Tembo had to leave to go back to Lundazi to his village to begin the planting for his own family village field. Mr. Nyoni was the sole worker and Care Taker during the whole of December 2019 and January 2020. He kept up with some weeding.
Mr. Vincent Tembo came back to the Model Village at the end of January. He was stunned with what he found. Because it rained frequently and often heavily, the entire model village was over run by tall grass, shrubs, and weeds. The rain had deteriorated some village grass roofing. The small brick house metal roofing was leaking badly. The bore pump was broken and needed repairs.
He immediately hired 3 men and one woman ganyu workers to clear weeds and grass around the Model Village huts and home. Some of the dry grass that was left from the previous year was used to repair some roofs. What this demonstrated is that nature is powerful.
According to the new woman Care Taker, Fani Mwanza, 39, the maize or corn have been harvested. The men dug up the peanuts. The raw peanuts are spread and drying on top of the roof of the brick house.